MANILA, Philippines – Embattled businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, and 6 more former congressmen will face preliminary investigation before the Office of the Ombudsman over the pork barrel scam.
The Ombudsman made the announcement on Thursday, October 23. The former congressmen are accused of the following:
- Former Navotas-Malabon Representative Alvin Sandoval, for malversation and graft over P30 million ($669,355*) in misused public funds
- Former Misamis Occidental First District Representative Marina Clarete, for malversation and graft over P65 million ($1.45 million*) in misused public funds
- Former Albay Third District Representative Reno Lim, for malversation and graft over P30 million ($669,355*) in misused public funds
- Former Nueva Ecija Fourth District Representative Rodolfo Antonino, for malversation and graft over 15 million ($334,672*) in misused public funds
- Former Easter Samar Representative Teodulo Coquilla, for malversation through falsification of public documents over P5 million ($111,593*) in misused public funds
- Former Isabela Fourth District Representative Anthony Miranda, for malversation, graft, and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees over at least P20 million ($446,372*) in misused public funds
The complaints lodged before the Ombudsman were filed after the completion of the fact-finding probe initiated by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales in June 2013.
Various projects funded by the 6 lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel were unliquidated and did not reach their intended beneficiaries in the rural provinces, according to the findings.
In Clarete’s case, all but one of the 1,616 supposed beneficiaries of livelihood kits were not registered voters in the district she represented, the Ombudsman-Mindanao Field Investigation Unit found.
The 6 lawmakers represented areas spread out across the nation, an indication of the scale of pork barrel scam, a scheme where lawmakers’ PDAF were allegedly funneled to ghost projects of bogus nongovernmental organizations of Napoles, in exchange for substantial kickbacks.
While the Napoles-run NGOs received government funds supposedly for agricultural livelihood projects, they merely fabricated liquidation documents to feign the implementation of these programs.
Napoles is already charged before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan of plunder and graft over the scam.
Two other plunder complaints at the Ombudsman level are headed to court once the respondents’ appeals are junked, involving alleged public fund misuse amounting to P112.29 million ($2.5 million) and P95 million ($2.11 million).
Napoles’ lawyers from the David, Cui-David and Buenaventura Law Offices are looking into hiring two more associates but denied the expansion was due to the businesswoman’s numerous cases. – Rappler.com
*$1 = P44.82